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Leaping Pepper Experiment

Activity Overview

Explore the fascinating world of static electricity in this Leaping Pepper Experiment. This experiment is fun and easy to perform and can be done by budding scientists of all ages and skill levels.

In this experiment, you will create your own static electricity and watch its effects on ground pepper. You will be able to see exactly how the whole experiment transpires because you will be able to watch through the clear top of the plastic box.

Materials Needed

  • Ground Pepper
  • A Piece of wool fabric
  • A clear plastic container with a lid
  • Paperclip

How to Make It

  1. Sprinkle a layer of ground pepper along the bottom of a clear plastic container.
  2. Place the clear plastic lid on top of the box.
  3. Rub the clear lid with the piece of wool fabric for one minute.
  4. Watch what happens. The pepper flakes will leap to the top of the lid.
  5. Unroll a metal paperclip and touch the tip of it to the top of the lid. Observe. The pepper flakes will repel or drop away.

Scientific Explanation

You create static electricity when you rub the wool fabric against the plastic lid. The static electricity attracts the pepper. When you add the metal paperclip to the static electricity party, the static electricity is transferred from the box lid to the paperclip, to your hand and down to the ground which causes the pepper to drop.

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